The Running Man on Running

I am trapped at home.  I cannot – dare not – venture out into the white-over world that surrounds me.  I have to don the wellies just to put stuff in the bin which is six feet from the back door.  Even then I require at least one spare hand with which to grip the wall.  (I originally wrote ‘grip the world’ there – a Freudian slip I would like to think, but more likely a subconscious recognition of reality.  I am currently having one of those mornings when I mis-type everything.  I use only two fingers and the keys are fairly big; how can my aim be so flippin’ awful?  I will tend to all of the bits underlined in red later – but not the British idioms to which the autocorrect is particularly averse.)  I like the look of snow.  It looks great, but why is it so bloody cold?  Why is it so slippery?  I realise that there are plenty of people who would be very unhappy to discover that it had ceased to be so – skiers, ice hockey players, kids on sledges, the makers of ‘You’ve Been Framed’ – but those of us with low-level, frost-generated stability issues would be more than happy to find that it had acquired a little more traction.  I wonder if Velcro soles would work?

Anyway, the fact is that I currently cannot run and so, like some Guru that The Beatles revered, unaware that he was only riding them to fame, I have decided to impart onto you, dear reader, all that I have so far learned about running.  The first thing that I have learned about running is that, after six months, I still don’t like it very much.  I never wake in the morning looking forward to a run: I never set off with anything other on my mind than finishing it.  However, whilst acknowledging that running offers me no enjoyment of whatsoever, I have grown to understand that it is essential to my wellbeing: mental as well as physical.  It is my thrice weekly ‘reset’.  Don the trainers and hit ‘Control-Alt-Delete’.  Nothing occupies my mind whilst running other than the immediate issues associated with doing so: not falling over; not running into anything/anyone; not passing out outside the chip shop.  It is a necessary evil – like a belt: you really don’t need it until your trousers fall down. 

So, the second thing I have learned about running is that I miss it when I don’t do it.  When I find an excuse not to run – and I have many: I can be very creative – I regret it almost at once.  I have two choices:

  1. Ignore myself.  Perfectly feasible.  Everybody else does it perfectly well.
  2. Clean the drains.

I feel slightly ashamed of myself when I have made an excuse not to run.  Especially since my usual antidote to shame is chocolate and whisky.  I schedule a run for the following day which, short of thinking of another excuse, I take.  Missing a run always makes the subsequent excursion more difficult: I am out of breath sooner, in fear of death earlier.  I regret having missed my run the day before.  I vow never to make an excuse again.  I marvel at my own weak-will.  I guess it could be my superpower.  (These are the thoughts that actually occupy my mind.)

The third – and I promise, last – thing I have learned about running is that it has a totally unpredictable effect on me.  Some days I breeze around my little course.  I feel so good that I pop in an extra kilometre.  I smile at people for goodness sake!  Other days, I set off in the same state of mind, in the same state of physical disintegration, and find myself running through treacle.  Every step is an effort and I have to resolutely battle against the urge to just give in and walk – which, sadly, could be quicker.  Nobody appears able to offer an explanation for this.  Is it a cosmic phenomenon, or the slice of cake I ate at midnight?  It must have something to do with my metabolism I guess (literally, as I have no idea what a metabolism is) but, if that is the case, my metabolism is frighteningly unreliable.  Perhaps the external white-out offers me the perfect excuse to find out why: a profitable way to spend the hours which, in less skiddy times, would be used tramping the streets.

Or I could just drink hot chocolate and move the bin closer to the door…

The next entry in my running diary, ‘The Running Man on Not Running’ is here
The previous entry in my running diary, ‘The Running Man and the Hip’ is here.
The first time I donned the trainers is chronicled here in ‘Couch to 5k’. You’re welcome.

22 thoughts on “The Running Man on Running

  1. Moving the bin closer to the door is a good idea and being the veteran of a couple of serious falls I have to tell you that your fears are not groundless.

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    1. I’m with you on that Herb, for having a motorbike accident yonks ago I generally don’t run unless I want to fall. So many falls, such memories… Not sure how I didn’t fall all those times running for the train station though, still all those others and the dear ground always there to catch me. Sometimes adding a few sharp chips of gravel to slather my palms; then there’s always the beautiful view from down there and perhaps a close up of chewing gum… Such unfond memories to recall in the mind and in such detail too. Still, running is for some as walking swiftly is for t’others like myself. Plus the amount of walking from floor to floor at work I did yesterday, using the stairs most times and only the lift if carrying stuff. So for all that I “Should be” fit as a fiddle. 😄 😁 😆

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      1. I have a friend who used to be a speed-walker. He’s amazing, you can’t keep close. Pleased I am not the only faller in the world – although not for you, of course. Have yet to fall whilst running. As my wife says, ‘It’ll come…’

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      2. Sometimes falling still can come as a complete surprise and “BOOM!” and other times I’m just like a bowl of petunias.
        🌺 🌺 🌺
        (ref: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

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      3. Of course surely life itself as a silly human, has much more in common with the whale 🐳 and the relationship it wishes to have with the ground of planet Earth. 🌏 I can get used to falling over once in a while…

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  2. You make some very good points here but who is to say chocolate and whiskey aren’t good for your metabolism as well? And as to you excuses I must ask how badly does the drain need cleaned? That could ne exercise in itself. So move the cans and drink the hot chocolate. Those scientists are doing new studies all the time.

    Laughing is fun Try It soon

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  3. Chocolate and whiskey sounds like a good antidote for just about anything. It’s -1 Fahrenheit here at the moment, which I believe translates to around -18 Celsius, and we’re getting some pretty good snow. I don’t like it much, but my dog doesn’t seem to mind.

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  4. Bike, on a turbo trainer in the garage. Great for those times when looking out the window makes you shiver or slip and fall over, and results in metabolism-grateful chocolate and whisky consumption later, if you can stay awake long enough.

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      1. It says something for my level of enthusiasm for running that I’d rather go nowhere on a bike, headphones on and staring unfocused into the many untidy piles of recycling-centre bound but as yet still piling detritus, while pedalling aimlessly and dripping sweat. It also has the advantage of being only yards from help if I should suddenly stop and fall over clutching my chest…

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  5. “I never wake in the morning looking forward to a run: I never set off with anything other on my mind than finishing it”. I’ve been meaning to write something about pre-run anxiety lately, so maybe this is the prod I need!

    Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been injured a lot lately, and I’m not as fit, but I am more anxious, pre-run, as I get older. There is, however, still a point in every run when I catch myself feeling better and much more positive about myself and it’s that which will keep me at it for as long is there is life in m’knees.

    Re: typoes. They do my head in… There have been times, over the years, that I would have paid serious money never to mis-type the words “administration” and “manoeuvre” ever again. And yes, I just had to re-do them both there, as well…

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  6. Wonder if there’s a pattern to it – something to do with hand size, and where the letters are on the keyboard? Philip Kerr once wrote about a policeman character who typed like he was squashing ants with his fingers – that’s a fair summation of my style, too!


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